As hope for any legislative action on climate change comes to a grinding halt, the President is now looking for other methods to consider. One of the ways discussed is if the President were to declare a state of emergency, or “climate emergency.”
This would enable him to take several executive actions to enforce his climate agenda. This is because when a state of emergency is active, several legislation acts become available and give the President more freedom to enact his agenda.
Let’s take a look at some of the effects declaring a climate emergency would have:
Increase Renewable Energy Production
One of the most important aspects of declaring a state of emergency is the Defense Production Act.
This act gives the President the power to direct private companies to prioritize orders from the federal government through executive orders. This was used by the previous and current administrations to prioritize the creation of supplies to fight COVID-19.
However, in this case, it could also be used to force companies to prioritize the production of renewable energy. This means both construction and manufacturing of renewable energy components could be ordered by the government.
American companies would have no choice but to comply.
End Fossil Fuel Projects
In no uncertain terms, fossil fuels are contributing to the problem this emergency is in response to.
As a result, the President would be in a position to end fossil fuel projects. This includes the mining or creation of coal, natural gas, and oil. This could lead to the suspension of both offshore and onshore drilling.
While this would be possible in practice, this is very unlikely to occur due to the state of the economy. Limiting oil production further would only cause gas prices to go even higher, thus, this would likely not happen.
At least not without a massive plan in place to help low and mid-class consumers purchase electric vehicles or install solar panels.
That said, coal would still be on the table, and ending coal usage in the US would be a major victory.
Increase the Production of Electric Vehicles
Similar to increasing renewable energy production, the Defense Production Act could be used to increase the production of electric vehicles.
Fossil fuel cars are a clear threat to the environment and in the US, the transportation sector is responsible for 27% of the total emissions. Increasing the production of electric vehicles while also decreasing the production of fossil fuel ones, can have a huge impact.
Of course, this can expand past electric vehicles. This would be a great time to invest in high-speed rail systems, and electric charging stations to accompany the influx of new EVs.
It could also lead to stricter guidelines for fossil fuel car manufacturers to follow.
A Climate Emergency Sends A Message to the World
While a state of emergency will directly affect the US, it will have a huge impact on the world.
If American companies are forced to increase renewable energy production or electric vehicles, that will have a knock-on effect around the world. This is because companies will realize these American companies will need components.
Thus, other nations will step up their own production of these products in hopes of selling them in the US.
Robert has been following and writing about environmental stories for years at GreenGeeks. He believes that highlighting environmentally friendly practices can help promote change in every household.